Emails obtained by WW show that leaders within the agency knew about an FBI investigation into the threats as early as Feb. 2, but did not immediately inform staff.
The county says department leaders informed three staffers singled out by name in the threats on Feb. 15, but did not notify other staff working in the detention center.
In March, several staff members signed a petition drafted by American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 88, the union that represents the county detention officers, asking the agency to follow its own written policies to immediately inform staff of credible threats in the future.
A county spokeswoman defends the original decision. "Managers were working with law enforcement assessing the situation and didn't have enough information at that point to share with staff," says county spokeswoman Julie Sullivan-Springhetti. "It is still an ongoing investigation and it is also in our interest to not compromise that."
Gresham police say the boy sent the violent threats to the U.S. Department of Justice in January, saying he was angry and wanted help because he had allegedly been assaulted in the juvenile detention center. The teenager also posted YouTube videos that have since been taken down detailing his plans to bring a gun to the building in northeast Portland.
The incident raises questions about management of the county department responsible for incarcerated youth and adults on parole and probation.
Director Scott Taylor announced his retirement on March 14, giving no explanation for his sudden departure. Multiple sources describe to WW a troubled department plagued by poor communication.
Taylor's last day with the county will be April 16. He declined to return multiple requests for comment.